First Sour (updated pics)

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SteveHeff

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Hi everybody. November 1, 2018 I brewed a 70% Pilsner 30% wheat beer and fermented it out with US-05. Nov. 8, 2018 I tossed this 5.5 gallons on top of 43oz of blackberries and pitched WYEAST 3278. It’s been a slow process, just waiting, since then. Today, I popped the top to sneak a sniff and a peak. I didn’t know what to completely expect. It definitely has the sour funk. I’ll bottle this up in another month or so.

Question: is this safe to rack another beer on to? I hear about people having a “mother” sour dregs monster that they keep adding beer to. Is that something I should save this for? Thanks.
 

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RPh_Guy

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Nov. 8, 2019 I tossed this
I'd like some lottery numbers from the future please. :)

Have you been monitoring s.g. to determine whether it's finished fermenting?

Since you disturbed the pellicle and introduced oxygen in the headspace, you should bottle sooner rather than later (assuming it's finished). Pitching fresh yeast at bottling is a good idea, and making an acid shock starter is best.

Yes, you can put new wort or beer on the mixed microbe cake.
If you add wort, I recommend pitching a fresh pack of 3278 so there's Saccharomyces to complete primary fermentation.

Cheers
 
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SteveHeff

SteveHeff

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This will not be bottled before the second week of May. School is a priority, right now. As soon as finals are taken care of, I’m going to bottle this.

No, I have not been checking the gravity...I didn’t want to open the bucket up every month or so. My bucket tag says the primary went from 1.058 down to 1.022. I wasn’t worried about transferring before letting the yeast finish up, but since it was going to ferment for another 5+ months, that didn’t bother me.

This is my very first sour. How much further could I reasonably expect the gravity to drop? It’s been kept between 62-65F for this time frame. Either way, I’ll bottle next month and see how it goes.
 

RPh_Guy

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Well, best of luck! :)

FG is unpredictable. Could be below 1.000.
 
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SteveHeff

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I decided to take a gravity reading, because I haven't gotten once in almost 6 months. Here is the time line:
Nov. 1, 2018 5.5 gallons 1.058 wort goes in to the primary.

Nov. 8, 2018, the US-05 has chewed it down to 1.022...a bit higher than expected, but it didn't worry me. I knew that the remaining yeast in suspension and the new pack of 3278 would get through the rest of those sugars and the blackberries without a problem. I never opened the bucket until just a couple days ago. I'll post an up close and personal lambic pic.

Today, April 17, 2019, I took a gravity reading (and maybe swiped a sample) and it is down to 1.010. Tastes like a sour, hoo-ray. I'm still going to give it another month, check the gravity, see if it is ready to bottle up. If it is, I'll carb to 2.7-2.9 volumes. It's all getting bottled. I don't feel like dedicating a tap line to sours is something I want to do, right now.

I'll report back in another couple months.
 

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redllama

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- Was it 1.022 before or after you racked onto the blackberries? If it was after that would explain the "high" gravity.
- I would definitely would take another gravity sample before bottling. 1.010 is pretty high for a mixed culture beer. What has your fermentation temperature been? If you are planning on carbing in the 2.7-2.9 range the last thing you want are bottle bombs in another couple months
- As an example I just bottled a flanders red that I brewed February 2018 and it finished at 1.002. I used a different culture but brett typically chews the gravity down a bit more than that. The only sour I have had finish that high was an imperial stout that finished in the 1.022 range and then dropped to about 1.010 but it did not have any fruit.
 
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SteveHeff

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The gravity reading was 1.022 when I racked on top of the blackberries. I am certainly taking precautions against bottle bombs, that's why I'm here. I expected the 3278 to eat through more of the leftover sugars than it has...so far. Of course I'll check the gravity again before I think of bottling. The primary fermentation fermented at 66-68F. The secondary has been between 63-65F. I'm hoping that the bugs will get through another 2-4 points, but that's just a guess.
 
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SteveHeff

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It’s in an ambient temp room. The house is usually at 68f but this room never gets above 65 until spring hits. It will have some 68-72F days on it before my next gravity check.
 
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SteveHeff

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Time for an update. I checked the gravity on the beer today. It's at 1.009. No big difference there. However, there is a pellicle that's formed in the last month. I was planning on bottling this up today or tomorrow. Are there any reasons why I should wait, longer? Do I need to wait and see if this pellicle will eat any more gravity points?
 

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redllama

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the pellicle is just the bretts way of creating an oxygen barrier to protect itself. Since it looks like you have your beer in a plastic bucket I would go ahead and package as the oxygen levels are probably getting a bit high. If possible I'd use the thickest bottles you have to avoid any potential bottle bombs down the road.
 
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SteveHeff

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I've been brewing for almost 10 years. I certainly understand waiting for gravity stabilization prior to bottling in order to prevent bottle bombs. I also understand that these microorganisms need a longer time to consume sugars. It's already been 6 months, not that this is a particularly long time but 4 weeks went by with a marginal difference in gravity readings.

Since my experiences are with ale and lager yeasts, I defer to yeast specialists for education on lambic blends as well as other specialized yeasts. I look at this drop in 1 gravity point over the last 4 weeks as being stable. But, like I stated, I'm not a yeast expert. Unless there is other information, which I haven't stumbled across, that indicates that this may drop additional points due to the slow working nature of the other blended yeasts. So, is there more information about this blend that would lend a person to believe that it will drop further?
 

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So, is there more information about this blend that would lend a person to believe that it will drop further?
The fact that it contains Brettanomyces means that it can drop lower. It takes time for Brett & LAB to eat the dextrins. Over 90% attenuation is common, although like I said, it's unpredictable.

Traditional sour beers require patience. I'd suggest to check gravity in another 6-8 weeks. It'll be ready to bottle if gravity hasn't change at all.

My recommendations will help ensure you don't get gushing or exploding bottles.

Cheers
 
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SteveHeff

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The fact that it contains Brettanomyces means that it can drop lower. It takes time for Brett & LAB to eat the dextrins. Over 90% attenuation is common, although like I said, it's unpredictable.

Traditional sour beers require patience. I'd suggest to check gravity in another 6-8 weeks. It'll be ready to bottle if gravity hasn't change at all.

My recommendations will help ensure you don't get gushing or exploding bottles.

Cheers
This was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for tossing that bit out there for me. I'll let it go another 6-8 weeks before checking the gravity, again. Cheers.
 

isomerization

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Glad that you are taking the advice, stable means no change.

I believe it only takes roughly 2 points of gravity to add 1 volume of CO2, so that 1 point is not a minuscule increase in your end carbonation level.
 
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